Saturday, 31 October 2009

That Old Chestnut

Hurrah! We have completed our 1st week of cycling and tasted the variety of 4 different states. There is however one thing that has so far run common through all the states? Chestnut Street! Yes it may sound bizarre but we have noticed that every city, every town and every community has a Chestnut Street! Staying on the theme of street names we were slightly tickled to find a street named after the one and only, mythical Robert Houck…we know where you are Houck (see photo).

Road signs aside and despite the surrounding mist not being conducive to good photo opportunities, we did experience the sheer beauty of Loch Raven (even with the distant sound of rapid gun fire in the nearby hunt), the stunning patchwork of autumn colours quilted over every ridge and valley and of course the unbelievably huge houses of Maryland.

… special note to TMGx have a great holiday! And a special note to Little Fella “We love and miss you loads”.

Us x

Friday, 30 October 2009

Peachy Bottoms

So, we wrote yesterday about this great Inn we stayed at last night. Hmn - so good that we overslept this morning. Still, it all worked out well in the end. No punctures today, but we stopped at a fantastic bike shop in Wrightsville, The Cycle Works, to pick up a few supplies and pump up the tyres. Jason and Andy were fab, and even better, they recommended a lunch place where we had the BEST chicken sub (sandwich) we have ever eaten. Casa D'Oria is a small cafe run by Joe, a Sicilian, who makes his own bread for the subs, as well as what looked like some scarily good pizza dough. Full of beans (well, bread), and taking with a pinch of salt the warnings from Jason and Andy about the terrain that lay ahead, we were ready to roll the short 40 miles to Peach Bottom Inn, Delta, PA, our stop for tonight. How wrong could we be.... Some killer hills saw us climbing almost 3,500 ft in the afternoon, and a few choice words about some detours on the route (damn those Garmins...). Still, the scenery was stunning (see photos), and we were thrilled to see a few examples of the Amish farms that we had been promised by the map narratives. Ready for the last of our 4-day stint tomorrow as we make our way to Baltimore for a well-needed rest day on Sunday. How traditional of us...

PS - for those who have not yet worked out how to access the photos, just click on the route map on the bottom right hand corner of the blog page.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Wheels on Fire

Tarmac! Now that's a funny thing...we blame John MacAdam, why didn't he enforce an appellation de controllee? Cycling would be a lot more comfortable if he did. Anthony had another puncture today then spent 30 minutes on the road side fitting a new inner tube after Kat insisted that cycling down a rather large descent with a flat front tyre on a tarmac'd service that was far from Grand Cru classe would be a dangerous endeavour...thanks Kat for helping him see the light.

With front tyre repaired and back up to an acceptable 70 psi, we both had a 'full on' cycling day, not much to see, mainly farms, rolling hills and the occasional Road Kill (dinner was exceptional tonight) we kept our heads down and put in an impressive day of cycling, completing our 60 mile trek in less than 5 hours.

We're now at the fabulous Cameron Estate Inn (the chef is an Iron Chef winner) getting ready for tomorrow.

Oh yes, we nearly forgot... Have you ever seen bush as red as this (see photo)?

Us x

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Spinning in the Rain (just spinning in the rain)…

Two observations on today. First, it rained. A lot. From the moment we left the hotel in Philadelphia, right through until the afternoon, and we got soaked. But it was still amazing. Second, when it rains, all the groundhogs come out. They are weird looking creatures – like huge hedgehogs, but without the prickles; or badgers, but without the stripes. Hats off to the groundhog. Not sure what animal they actually used in the film, but we think they had given it a make over before it went on set.

And some more thank you’s. To the guys at Bike Line in Philly, who mended Anthony’s slow puncture before we set off this morning (yes – it was one of those days). And to the 3 lovely ladies at the Cabin Shop in Valley Forge National Park (see picture): Dor, Pamela and Jean – thanks for the extra cookies, and the spicy hotdog. Dor – we may be looking for the loan of your little red corvette sometime soon….

… And finally! Tonight, we are staying at a beautiful Inn nested on the rocky banks of French Creek; a picture book fairytale Creek in St. Peter’s Village PA with tumbling water falls, dancing rapids (see video clip) and a sound of …. umm water! Oh, and we nearly forgot, there is a fabulous bakery here, where we stuffed our faces with cakes and coffee on arrival. Tasty.

… and really finally! You may be interested to learn of our cycling achievements thus far. We’re averaging just under 11mph over 50 miles, burning approx 3500 calories (then stuffing them back on again with Pizza) and still no NPS…but had a close call today!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Rest Day

We're here in Philly having a rest day, doing some light shopping and catching up on few hello's and thank you's.

Firstly we'd like to thank Christina Boyle for writing a great article in the New York Daily News: and Jeff for taking the wonderful pictures; and Alex & Natalie (and their lovely daughter Honor) for persuading us to contact Christina...hopefully we'll raise more money for MS through this publicity.

Secondly we'd both like to thank Toga Bikes New York (West End) particularly Phil & Hobi for all their hard work sourcing and preparing the bikes....which now weigh 63lbs each before we've even got on the puppies...phew!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Philadelphia Dreamin'...

...all the leaves are brown (and red, and yellow, and orange) and the sky is blue. Yes, it's true that the North Eastern coast of the US in the Fall is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Indeed, we were so mesmerised by it, we failed to take any photos. We put it down to our generally relaxed pedalling today due to (almost) mastering the use of the Garmin (GPS), which got us here much quicker than the stop/start map consultation "oh, shall we take a photo" process of yesterday. After rolling out of New Hope at a fairly leisurely time and pace, and wowing at the beautiful scenery, tranquility, and (most importantly) smooth road surface, it would be an understatement to say that we were ecstatic to find a Whole Foods en route just around lunchtime... awesome... and even meeting a lovely person there who wanted to donate to our cause. We also marvelled at the fact the Philly has an 18.5 mile bike path running into it from the North, along the river for most of the way (see photo) ...shouldn't all cities should have one? So, being a little saddle sore, we are looking forward to our rest day tomorrow, and then it's on the road again on Weds....

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Yeah OK its 10pm and you're thinking we should have posted this seminal blog way before! some time around 3pm would have better reflected the time of arrival here in New Hope, just 60 miles west south west of Newark (Penn Station)...well there are a few unexpected distractions one fails to account for when planning a bike ride such as this, i.e (i) chatting to everyone explaining why we're doing something so insane, (ii) not being able to operate the GPS gadget you've thought would make everything easy, (iii) eating, (iv) comfort breaks, (v) riding bikes that weigh the same as a small car, (vi) being so starving when you arrive you order quantities of food that could feed a family of four, and (vii) taking pictures of trees that were previously known to be extinct! Check out the photo of the rare "Talkie Talkie" tree, believed to have been wiped out with the dinosaurs but now only found in Neshanic NJ.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Final Preparations

...was great to see a few friends last night. We also collected the trusty Steeds (click the map to see all photos) yesterday and are now making final preparations, packing the bags etc.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Hello New York

Having spent the last few days frantically packing all of our worldly belongings into a considerable number of cardboard boxes to make way for our UK tenants, we eventually made it to Heathrow (thanks Dad/James) with minutes to spare.
Now in New York eating burgers and fries in our swanky 44th street temporary abode, we sit and contemplate the epic journey that lies truth we're stuffing our faces watching Law & Order on TV.

...counting down the hours to Sunday (day 1)